It’s hard to believe that senior living space could get much nicer than what The Gatesworth at One McKnight Place has offered for the past 20 years, but apparently it can. The premier retirement community has just unveiled its new west wing, with 38 bigger and more elegant residences. These range from 1,500 to 3,200 square feet and feature expansive terraces, many overlooking a tranquil reflecting pool.

“It’s almost as if it was the top tier of a cruise ship or the penthouse level of a hotel,” says co-owner David Smith. “The west wing will have its own separate entrance as well as private common spaces, from reception and concierge to separate living and dining rooms.” The new wing’s interior spaces have been designed by Jane Ganz of Directions in Design, who also worked with The Gatesworth owners on a recent renovation of the main bulding’s interiors.

“The west wing will build off of all our existing services, so our staff will be providing the same extraordinary individualized services but in a new and unique environment. There will be a piano lounge, a separate wine and cocktail bar, and a media lounge with two large flat-screen TVs to add an interactive feel,” Smith says. A large, covered veranda will be built at the back of the building alongside a beautiful terrace and a large reflecting pond with extensive landscaping.

At the far end of the pond, an outdoor pavilion will be available for Gatesworth parties. “We’ll have a fireplace there, a wet bar, and a place for people to sit, all combining to create a really different and unique outdoor environment,” Smith enthuses. “Not only will it be unlike other senior communities in St. Louis, but it is noteworthy around the country. People are looking at our plans and seeing what we’re doing—something both elegant and upscale that provides an amazing level of personalized services.”

Driving the decision to build an expansion was a concern for the needs of The Gatesworth’s existing and future residents, says co-owner Charlie Deutsch. “With more than 100 people on our waiting list, we began speaking with priority members, and most wanted the service-enriched environment and the high-end amenities we’re able to offer, without having to worry about maintenance, housekeeping and meals. But they were also looking to move into a place with the same amount of space and comparable level of finish as one of the larger new condominiums in the Clayton area.”

The firm undertaking the physical expansion process is Gateco Developments, The Gatesworth’s own construction company, which is managed by Bob Leonard, director of operations for The Gatesworth community, and helmed by VP of construction Nick Walker. The company is responsible for the architecture at The Gatesworth and Park Provence. The construction of the west wing is scheduled for completion in May 2009, with first priority going to The Gatesworth’s waiting list and residents. They have already snapped up one-third of the new residences. “We’re just now opening that selection process to the public and will have some preview presentations to show people soon,” Smith says.

The architectural style of the new wing will seamlessly match that of The Gatesworth. And early residents will have the chance to customize their units on the inside. All the suites include wood and ceramic flooring, living rooms, dining rooms and dens, large master bedroom suites, wet bars, laundry rooms, fine finishes such as granite countertops and cherry wood kitchen cabinets, and a state-of-the-art security system. The west wing is for people coming out of wonderful spacious homes who want a larger, more luxurious setting, says Smith.

“A lot of places offer the same categories of services we offer, but what makes The Gatesworth unique is the depth of service and the ability to provide the services in a variety of venues at different times of the day, personalized for residents.” He cites The Gatesworth’s award-winning chef, three different restaurants and private dining venues. Residents are so proud of the chef, Smith says, that several hundred guests come to The Gatesworth on a typical Sunday for brunch, when residents host their families and friends.

“That’s the kind of thing we want to capture in the west wing experience,” Smith says. “For people who entertain, they’ll be able to invite their friends and family over, which becomes increasingly difficult as we age. But here, they won’t miss a thing.”

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